If you want to work in Sweden and come from a country outside the EU, you must have a work permit. If you want to work in Sweden for longer than three months, you also need a residence permit.

It is the employer who decides if they want to recruit foreign workers. The rules, that are in place since 15 December 2008, involve the Migration Agency obtaining statements regarding, for example, salary levels from the union before decisions on work permits are made.

An asylum seeker who has had the right to work (exemption from the obligation to hold a work permit) and employment for at least six months before the application for asylum is rejected can be entitled to receive a work permit without applying for it from their country of origin. You must apply for the permit at the latest two weeks after the decision in the asylum application has gained legal force and you must have an offer of employment with the same employer for at least an additional 12 months. 

Since 2012, the Migration Agency has introduced increased controls within certain industries to discourage the exploitation of people in the Swedish labour market. More information on stricter requirements and labour laws can be found here.

The Migration Agency's task at the time of application is to assess whether the conditions specified in the offer of employment meet the requirements for the Swedish labour market with regard to, for example, salary and insurance. Under the current legislation, the Migration Agency does not have the right to perform follow-up checks on whether the conditions in the offer of employment are being met.

More information on the rules on work permits.

Last updated: 2015-05-04

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If you wish to ask the Migration Agency a question you can find our contact details under the heading Contact us.